Since the ground-breaking discovery by a Poultry CRC PhD student that alpha-toxin does not cause the devastating bacterial disease, necrotic enteritis (NE), another toxin, NetB, has emerged as the likely culprit. One of the researchers working on the CRC project focussed on the development of a vaccine against NE, Dr Trudi Bannam, is focussing on the role of the novel toxin, NetB, and the mechanisms by which this toxin contributes to the disease process.
“We’re trying to understand NetB’s role in the disease,” explained Trudi, a Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Structural and Functional Microbial Genomics, located in Monash University’s Department of Microbiology.
“In addition, we’re trying to find out whether the bacterium causes other factors that contribute to the disease.”
“We can look at the whole genome for other factors, but things that are located close to NetB are more likely to be involved in the disease,” she said.
Dr Bannam is investigating unique aspects of plasmid biology, as well as studying bacterial pathogenesis of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium perfringens.
“I have worked with Clostridium perfringens before, my PhD focussed on the bacterium, but this is my first experience with necrotic enteritis and poultry.”
Trudi gave a presentation at the recent CRC Ideas Exchange in Sydney on her work with NE, and managed to win the Project Snapshots session, beating a strong field to take the coveted $500 first prize.
The plasmid biology project involves analysis of the distinctive mechanisms by which C. perfringens plasmids are replicated, maintained and transferred amongst bacterial cells. The pathogenesis studies have been focusing on the role of NetB, and the mechanisms by which this toxin contributes to the disease process. Trudi is also involved in the C. perfringens and C. jejuni vaccine discovery pipeline projects in collaboration with CSIRO Livestock Industries’ Dr Rob Moore and his team at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory.
So what’s Trudi going to do with her prizemoney?
“I’m going to buy a new camera,” she told us. Congratulations to Trudi on her superb presentation and happy snapping!